One booth that really captured my attention, was Hahnemühle. This is not to say that they have not been at other shows, but I have never had the chance to really stop and spend any time to truly investigate their papers. As you can probably tell from their name, they are a German company. It turns out that they have been making paper for more than 400 years.
So...why was I so excited about paper? The answer to this question is, I print a lot of my photos on my Canon Pro-1000 printer and really want to print on the best quality paper I can find. Canon has good paper, but pretty limited options for paper types. What I saw at the Hahnemühle booth really impressed me. They had a wide selection of paper, and all of them showed the images at their best.
I decided that the best way to test the look of each paper, was to print the exact same image on each type of surface. Since I had just returned from our safari workshop in Tanzania, I used one of my favorite photos as my test shot. I chose this image because the photo had a good combination of detail, color, grey scale and texture. I also printed one or two more colorful images to see what they would look like as well.
I was very happy to see that Hahnemühle has all their ICC printer profiles on their web site. This is critically important, since these profiles are vital to make sure that your printer is laying down the right amount of ink, and at the right distance from the paper. I downloaded the printer profiles from their site and it was easy to print my samples using those profiles.
It took some time to print all of the sample images, but it gave me a chance to compare each paper type and determine my favorites.
I am sure that everyone will have their own favorites, but mine turned out to be:
These papers differ in their texture, glossiness, thickness and brightness. And in my tests, I felt that there was no one perfect paper for every image. Some photos looked better on a matte paper while others looked stronger on glossier paper. Some looked good on a whiter paper, while others looked better on one of the papers that were more off white.
Once I had determined my favorites, it was time to get some packs of the larger sheets of those papers.
Of course, my favorite part is powering up the Canon Pro-1000 printer and printing some of my images on really high quality paper. And the bigger, the better. Wow - these prints look so good on this paper!
I tend to use the more textured matte papers for my monochromatic images, and the bright and pearl papers for my more colorful images.
For the first 5 years of my photography business, I did not print any of my own photos. I relied on Bay Photo for that. I still use Bay Photo for albums, books and other specialty items, but love printing my own images in my home studio. I love the immediate satisfaction of taking a photo, and then right after, seeing that image in print. There really is no substitute for that!
For all of you looking to print your photos on high quality paper, I encourage you to get the Hahnemühle sample packs (links are above) and try these for yourself to determine your favorites.
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